Mold is a very toxic fungi that can be lurking in your home or business causing a number of illnesses to you and
your family! No type of mold should be ignored, especially Stachybotrys. There are over 1000 species of mold that are common
in the U.S. Some of the most common found are Cladosporium, Penicillium and Aspergillus. Mold is more likely to grow where
there is water or dampness, such as bathrooms, basements and crawlspaces. The most
common overexposure to toxic mold is cough, congestion, runny nose, eye irritation headaches and aggravation of asthma.
you suspect mold in your home or business, or in the process of buying a home, the only sure way to find out what species
may be present is to have a Certified Mold Inspector perform an air quality test.
WHAT IS MOLD?
The fungus kingdom consists of eukaryotic
organisms. Fungi are subdivided into four phyla based on their reproduction mode: ascomycetes, basidiomycetes, zygomycetes
and mitosporic fungi.
The word "mold" is a
non-scientific term that in popular parlance generally refers to members of a few dozen filamentous fungi. Such fungi are
often visible as colonies on food and building materials, appearing on close inspection as mulicellular filaments called "hyphae".
Mold growth on building material surfaces can influence air quality because both spores and mycelial fragments are dispersed
into the air and can be inhaled, dependingon their size.
Three features of mold biochemistry are of special interest in terms of human health. First, mold cell walls
contains (1->3)-B-D-glucan, a compound with inflammatory properties. Second, spores and mycelial fragments contain allergens,
few of which have been chemically charaterized. Many of theknown fungal allergens are serine proteases, or proteins,
which are present in fairly high concentrations in the spores. These have been described mainly from work done in phylloplane
species and ASPERGILLUS fumigatus. Third, spores
of some species contain low molecular weight chemicals that are cytotoxic or have other toxic properties produced by STACHYBOTRYS chartarum. Some molds,
such as ASPERGILLUS fumigatus, cancause opportunistic infection in immunocompromised
individuals and severe allergic diseases in people with underlying respiratory conditions, such as asthma or cystic.
HOW CAN MOLDS EFFECT MY HEALTH?
If you have allergies or asthma, you may experience skin rash and itching, running nose, eye irritation, cough,
congestion, and aggravation of asthma. Also, if you have an immune suppression or underlying lung disease, you may be at increased
risk for infections from molds.
Just because you live in a dry climate,
don't think you're off the hook. You may experience a reduced incidence of mold growth, but by no means is your environment
immune to infestation.
Some researches believe more serious effects may result from mold exposure,
including fever, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, respiratory dysfunction (including coughing-up blood), frequent and excessive
nose bleeds, dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, vomiting, and liver damage. Severe reactions may also occur among workers exposed
to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Such symptoms may disappear
when exposure to mold no longer exists. Other health problems may be permanent
Some people reportedly have taken extreme measures to combat severe mold reactions. One California family claimed
that exposure to mold infestation caused a number of their illnesses, including respiratory problems, nose bleeds and rashes.
They burned their home to the ground, believing that it would cost less to simply rebuild than to remove the mold. In Texas,
a couple’s 11,500 square-foot home was quarantined after molds were thought to have caused stomach problems, diarrhea,
vomiting, severe respiratory scarring, and other illnesses in their son, as well as severe memory loss in the husband, ultimately
resulting in his inability to work.
Microbial volatile organic compounds
known as microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs) are another source of health problems caused by mold exposure. These
compounds are produced by fungal metabolism and are released directly into the air, often giving off strong or unpleasant
odors. Exposure to mVOCs from molds can irritate the eyes and respiratory system and cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue,
nasal irritation and nausea. It's important to realize that research in this area is still in the early stages.
When necessary, some resourceful molds produce toxins in defense
against other molds and bacteria called mycotoxins. Depending on exposure level, these mycotoxins may cause toxic effects
in people, also. Some symptoms may include fatigue, nausea, headaches, and respiratory and eye irritation If you or your family
members have health problems that you suspect are caused by exposure to mold, you should consult with your physician.
Is there a test to determine f I have been exposed to mold?
recommend testing for mold-specific antibodies. The presence of antibodies only indicates that you have been exposed to a
substance at some time. However, it does not tell you when you were exposed, where the exposure took place, or how much of
the mold you were exposed to. Having a positive test for mold-specific antibodies alone is generally not sufficient to prove
that any health effects were in fact caused by exposure to mold.
any medical tests available to determine if I am allergic to mold?
There are medical
tests to determine if you are allergic to a particular substance, such as mold. These can be performed on skin or blood, although
skin tests are considered more reliable, yield results more quickly, are less expensive than blood tests and are generally
considered more sensitive. Skin testing may be recommended for individuals with year-round symptoms thought to be caused by
an indoor allergy.
The RAST (radioallergosorbent) test is a blood test that detects levels of antibodies
to particular allergens. The test is expensive to perform, and results are usually not available for about two weeks.
What type of doctor should I see concerning mold exposure?
should first consult a family or general health care provider who will decide whether you need referral to a specialist. Such
specialists might include an allergist who treats patients with mold allergies or an infectious disease physician who treats
mold infections.i If an infection is in the lungs, a pulmonary physician might be recommended. Patients who have been exposed
to molds in their workplace may be referred to an occupational physician.
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Sources: Washington State Department of Health; California Research Bureau, California State
Library; National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention; Illinois Department of Public
Mr. Ervin is certified by NAMP - ( National Association of Mold Professionals ) as a mold inspection
and remediation expert. Mr. Ervin has over 27 years experience in the fungi removal field. Please call to schedule a
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